Gary Parker

W. H. Johnson Professor of Geology

 "Basic engineering science and application to real-world problems stand together on equal footing in our department."

2527c Hydrosystems Laboratory
301 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 244-5159
(217) 333-0687

Click here for Gary Parker’s Morphodynamics Page 

Gary Parker joined the faculty of the Environmental Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering group in the summer of 2005. He holds a 75 percent appointment in the Depart­ment of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a 25 per­cent appointment in the Department of Geology, where he is the W.H. Johnson Professor of Geology.

Professor Parker received a B.S. from the Department of Mechanics and Materials Science of Johns Hopkins University (1971) and a Ph.D. from the Department of Civil Engineering of the Uni­versity of Minnesota (1974). Before coming to the University of Illinois, he was an Institute of Technology Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Minne­sota. During the period 1995-1999, he also served as Director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, a water resources/fluid mechanics laboratory in the same department.

Prof. Parker was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysi­cal Union in 2003, and received the G.K. Warren Award in Fluviatile Geomorphology in 2002. He has received the Schoemaker Award twice and the Ippen Award from the International Association of Hydraulic Research, and the Einstein Award, Hilgard Prize and Stevens Award from the American Society of Civil Engi­neers. In 1991 he also received the University of Minnesota In­stitute of Technology Outstand­ing Teacher Award. In addi­tion to numerous journal articles, he has written an e-book, “1D Sediment Transport Morphodynamics with Applica­tions to Rivers and Turbidity Currents.” Parker teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in flu­id mechanics, river engineering, sediment transport. One of Prof. Parker's major research goals is to use the fundamental techniques of fluid mechanics and applied mathematics to treat interesting geomorphological problems. Related special research includes mechanics of river meandering; oceanic turbidity currents; sorting of mixed grain sediment by fluvial processes; bank erosion and protection using permeable dikes and vegetation; and reservoir sedimentation. Development of a mechanistic understanding of the processes involved with sediment transport in rivers and the ocean environment, and the morphologies they create, is of prime importance. River meander migration research has led to the development of computer models that predict channel shift and can therefore be used in the design of floodplain structures such as bridges, intakes, etc. In addition, research on depositional submarine fans has been found useful to oil companies as a means of helping locate oil deposits.

Research Overview: 

Professor Parker’s major research interests are the mechanics of sediment-laden flow in rivers and turbidity currents, and resulting flow-boundary morphodynamic interactions. His current efforts focus on delta evolution, bedrock bedrock-alluvial transitions, bedrock meandering, drainage network formation, advection-dispersion of tracer pebbles, formation of continental shelves, muddy tidal morphodynamics, role of washload in rivers, long-runout turbidity currents and natural dam formation in meteogenic travertine systems.